Prudential Names Lowrey Head of International Business

Prudential Financial Inc., the second-largest U.S. life insurer, named Charles F. Lowrey as chief operating officer of its international business to succeed Ed Baird, who plans to retire in April.

Lowrey, 56, has been COO of the insurer’s U.S. businesses for three years, Newark, New Jersey-based Prudential said today in a statement.

Growth has stalled at the international operations, contributing to a $460 million fourth-quarter net loss for Prudential. The insurer gets about half of its profit from units outside of the U.S., mainly in Japan.

“The management changes announced today will position the company well for our future growth,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Strangfeld said in the statement. “These changes demonstrate how much time and attention we put into talent management.”

Steve Pelletier, CEO of Prudential’s group insurance unit, will succeed Lowrey as head of U.S. businesses, which manage more than $1 trillion in assets, according to the statement. Lori Fouche will be promoted to Pelletier’s position.

Baird has been running the international operations since 2008, Prudential said. He joined the company in 1979.

“Ed has done a superb job,” Strangfeld said. “He led the businesses during a period of tremendous growth in Japan and is the chief architect of our recent expansion into new international markets.

Prudential gained 0.3 percent to $84.62 today in New York. It has advanced 48 percent in the past 12 months, compared with the 20 percent increase by the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. MetLife Inc., the biggest U.S. life insurer, has rallied 33 percent during the same period.